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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Chemical handling: 11 important safety rules

The following are 11 basic safety rules that chemical handlers in New Jersey will want to see incorporated into their workplace and follow. They are all top priorities, so no particular order is given. The first rule is for workers to follow all established practices and go about their duties as they were trained to do. The second rule is to be cautious and anticipate any hazards before working.

Employers, for their part, should have procedures in place for emergency situations like fires and spills. They should ensure that the workplace is cleaned to prevent contamination. They are required to provide workers with personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators, and worn-out or damaged PPE should be replaced.

Study profiles those at highest risk for distracted driving

A study published by the Society for Risk Analysis has uncovered four profiles of drivers who are strongly inclined to call or text while behind the wheel. New Jersey residents may be interested in the results because they could point the way toward more effective distracted driving campaigns that target certain received notions about road safety.

The first profile group was women, who were found to be more likely than men to use their phones while driving. The other three groups are drivers who frequently call or text to begin with, drivers with negative attitudes about safety and drivers with few inhibitions. Researchers found that, on the whole, more experienced drivers were less likely to engage in distracting behavior.

Transportation accidents killed the most workers in 2016

New Jersey readers may be surprised to learn that transportation mishaps and crashes killed more U.S. workers than any other type of job-related accident in 2016. Meanwhile, workplace violence leapfrogged slips, trips and falls to become the second leading cause of job-related fatalities that year.

The report used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries to determine the most dangerous jobs in America in 2016. According to the report, logging topped the list, with a fatality rate of 135.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. The second most dangerous job was fishing, with a fatality rate of 91 deaths per 100,000 workers. Aircraft pilots had the third most dangerous job, with 86 deaths per 100,000 workers. Roofers and trash collectors rounded out the top 5, with 48.6 and 34.1 deaths per 100,000 workers, respectively.

Auto distractions caused by entertainment systems

Smartphones are often blamed for the rise in distracted driving accidents in New Jersey and around the country, but research from the American Automobile Association suggests that using sophisticated automobile entertainment and navigation systems can be just as dangerous as sending a text message while behind the wheel. AAA tested five vehicle electronic systems from Ford, General Motors, Dodge, Honda and Kia, and t found that all of them place high or very high demands on drivers.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Utah. They observed 64 participants to find out how distracting automobile entertainment and navigation systems are and whether or not connecting them to smartphones reduces the problem. While the researchers found that features like Apple's CarPlay and Android's Auto make fewer demands on drivers, they concluded that they can still be dangerously distracting in many situations.

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to mental health issues

New Jersey residents may be aware that brain injuries can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, including blurred vision, confusion and other side effects. What is not always mentioned, however, is that one's mental health can also be impacted by a concussion.

Multiple studies have shown that a person's emotions or behaviors can actually change following a traumatic brain injury. In some cases, those who suffer a traumatic brain injury develop anxiety or depression. For example, one study found that up to 33 percent of patients experienced depression during the immediate recovery period following a traumatic brain injury. A second study found that approximately 53 percent of patients experienced depression within a year after the incident occurred.

Wearable tech has workplace safety applications

Connected technology created by the Internet of Things has emerged as an important tool to help workers prevent injuries or get help when accidents happen. Many workers in New Jersey operate alone, and small wearable tags, such as a Wearsafe tag, can give workers an easy one-touch way to contact an employer or emergency contact if they feel threatened or get hurt. A device like this can provide a person's location and allow for group chat.

Other companies have developed worker applications that can be used on smartphones. Employers can use the geolocalization technology loaded in the smartphone to customize settings for workers' specific safety concerns. Wearable technology connected through the internet can also collect data about a worker's actions and environment. Employers could monitor this data to gain insights about worker behavior and potential safety problems. Sensors attached to a worker might alert a person to malfunctioning equipment in a manufacturing setting and potentially prevent an accident.

Why "never events" and surgical errors occur

Many New Jersey patients have probably heard about medical cases gone wrong where patients had the wrong parts of their bodies removed or the wrong surgery performed. While these types of errors known as "never events" are rare, they can and do occur.

It is estimated that these errors occur in about 1 of every 112,000 surgical procedures. This essentially means that a hospital may only have one "never event" occur in every 5 to 10 years. However, this estimate only considers "never events" that occur in surgical operating rooms. When errors that occur in other settings such as ambulances are taken into account, the rate at which "never events" occur may actually be much higher.

Important tips for improving workplace safety

Business owners in New Jersey, especially those faced with fast-paced work environments, probably know how easy it can be to become nonchalant about the risks that lurk behind everyday actions. When inattentiveness is combined with poor safety training and hazard prevention, however, workplace injuries become more common. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that 2,000 eye injuries occur every day in workplaces.

There are five good tips that business owners and site managers should take to heart if they want to turn this situation around. The most important is strong leadership in forming a safety culture. Owners should also take control and find out what workers know about federal safety guidelines and corporate policies. This could take the form of a survey.

Jobsite safety can improve with proactive steps

New Jersey residents who work in the construction industry may be interested to know that taking certain proactive steps can improve workplace safety by 670 percent. This is according to the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The ABC released its Safety Performance Report for 2018 that stated not only can the use of organization's Safety Performance Evaluation Process by companies make a job site up to 670 percent safer, but it can also lower the number of reportable safety occurrences by up to 85 percent.

Portable brain scanner provides early detection possibilities

A new method to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury is quickly approaching and may soon be available for patients in New Jersey. As traumatic brain injury is responsible for nearly 2,500 deaths in the U.S. annually and over 35,000 hospitalizations, the new diagnostic appliance is welcomed in the medical community.

The device uses infrared waves to scan the brain for injury. Referred to as Near Infrared Spectroscopy, or NIRS, the scope can produce a reasonable image of the outer portion of the brain and measure brain activity. As an optical scanner, it is non-invasive and requires no incision into the skull; in addition, infrared waves have no side effects.

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